At the beginning of the week, Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn was in pretty good shape. Despite what happened the week before, losing offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey, he had to feel better good about his chances of landing former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant.
Malzahn had visited the star signal caller one last time to talk him into coming to Auburn and when he left he had to feel good about his chances. That, of course, was until he turned on the TV on Tuesday night and saw that Bryant had chosen to take his talents to Missouri.
Oh well, at least Malzahn still had Jarrett Stidham. Until he didn’t. Stidham announced that he would be turning pro and leaving Auburn the same day Bryant committed to the Tigers. It may have come as a shock to some that Stidham would leave the Plains, especially after the regular season he had in 2018, but maybe it’s not a bad idea.
If Malzahn was out recruiting Bryant to come to Auburn, it was clear that Stidham might have lost his his starting position.
The writing was on the wall that, one way or another, Stidham was not going to be at Auburn and he would rather leave on his terms than Malzahn’s.
Gus Malzahn probably had no business recruiting another quarterback while Stidham was still at Auburn. Although, one would understand why he did it. He had to know he was taking a HUGE risk by doing this.
That risk that didn’t pay off. Not only did he lose Stidham, but he also didn’t land Kelly Bryant either.
Stidham, who completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,421 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions for the Tigers this season, is smart to leave the Plains after Auburn’s bowl game against Purdue. Before the season started, Stidham was thought to be one the top quarterbacks in the country, but since then, his stock has dropped dramatically over the past year with no help from Malzahn.
So rather than see his NFL Draft stock drop further, he decided to move on. Stidham may not be a first or second round draft choice, but if he stayed at Auburn with Gus Malzahn calling the shots on offense, chances are he may not ever been picked at all.